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Sleeping Rosetta spacecraft wakes up for comet rendezvous

 
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2015 03:46 pm
@hawkeye10,
Ah-hahahahahahahahahahaha . . .

Let me know how big your check is when it comes in, Mr. Big Thinking.

You have done nothing to contribute to this mission. You have no business talking about what "we" have done. I doubt that ESA would even hire you to sweep out the offices at night.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2015 03:48 pm
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
But there was no need to ever find ourselves in this situation, nor to have missed out on the past seven months of studying the comet. The panacea? A tiny bit of Plutonium-238, whose radioactive decay could have powered the lander without the need for everything to have worked perfectly in order to generate success.

Plutonium-238 isn’t naturally occurring, but is a waste product of producing the fissionable nuclear material for use in nuclear warheads. When we bind it to two oxygen atoms — creating Plutonium dioxide — we get a tremendously stable, safe, solid configuration that emits heat, usable power, and is completely insoluble in water. This means that even if there’s a disaster on launch, the radioactive material won’t go anywhere, and can not only be retrieved, but reused in future missions.

Plutonium-238 has a half-life of 88 years, and for a mass of less than 1 kg of plutonium (and about another 12 kg of materials), you can generate 40 Watts of continuous power for the entire duration of the mission, plus enough excess heat to keep the electronics warm. (Above, you can see the Plutonium pellet glowing from its own heat.) Considering that the entire solar panel assembly for Philae was 12.2 kg and generated about 32 Watts while in direct sunlight at a distance of 3 AU from the Sun, there’s no scientific reason not to use it.

Except for two pesky facts that we, as humans, could do something about.

All previous deep space probes have used RTGs [Radio-isotope Thermoelectric Generator], but the ESA has not developed RTG technology. They couldn’t get it from NASA (who wouldn’t provide it) or Roscosmos (which would violate the ITAR treaty).
We are literally running out of our Pu-238 supply for deep space missions. We are no longer making more, although we could be easily doing so for scientific purposes. It just costs a little bit of money.
In fact, if we only wanted to use a tiny amount of Pu-238 to keep the electronics warm, we could have done exactly that — with the same solar technology — with an expenditure of only two grams of Pu-238. This is the strategy that Mars Opportunity employed, and it’s been roving on Mars successfully (and continuously) for over a decade now. In fact, Stephan Ulamec, project manager of the Philae lander, has openly said the reason they didn’t use this material is for political reasons. And as a result, we missed seven months of learning about the comet’s surface, interior and all the changes that occurred while it came alive.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ethansiegel/2015/06/15/first-probe-to-land-on-a-comet-is-awake-but-our-nuclear-fears-cost-us-seven-months-of-data/

Well ya, but the cost is likely to be even more, it is now very likely that not sending this probe with nuclear fuel will be far and away the primary cause of near complete mission failure. We reached into our toolbox and picked the wrong tool for the job, which is a problem so extreme in its ramifications and so common that the health of man and civilization suffers substantially.
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2015 04:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
Point of fact: reports had it that after the probe called home that upon first opportunity the probe would be commanded to prioritize keeping warm and talking to us over all else, to include science. And 185 data packs in over a week is the best we can do??

This is not a good sign.

I also noted in reports what appeared to be insiders telling journalists without giving their names for attribute that the fear was that the call home was the last gasp of a dying probe. So far that seems to be what it was. Not knowing where this thing is makes predictions difficult, but that in itself was a mission failure. A tiny weak powered probe needed to be striped of most capabilites, and a tracking system was one thing that ended up going.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 07:47 am
I read that "Rosetta was going to join Philae on the surface" by the end of the year.

Does that mean that they are going to try to land Rosetta on the comet, or just crash it and see what kind of dust it kicks up?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 08:30 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
I read that "Rosetta was going to join Philae on the surface" by the end of the year.

Does that mean that they are going to try to land Rosetta on the comet, or just crash it and see what kind of dust it kicks up?
It's more a kind of "soft crash" (they hope), since Rosetta actually isn't constructed for a landing procedure: "At the end of the mission , we can indeed take a risk ." ( Stephan Ulamec, project manager for Philae)
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2015 10:36 am
@Walter Hinteler,
If it was such a good idea it would have been part of the mission, not a last minute add on as it is. Most likely this is an attempt to get some of the information that they expect will be lost from the failure of the Probe mission, lost because they were afraid to launch nuclear material to power it.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2015 09:40 pm
The fridge-sized robotic lab, which in November landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, last made contact on July 9 and efforts to reach it again have so far failed, said experts at the European Space Agency project.

The lander — the first mission to land on a comet — initially bounced and landed in a position too shadowy to power its solar panels.

It woke up in June as the comet moved closer to the sun. But latest data suggests something, possibly a gas emission, may have moved it again. Philae’s antenna may have been obstructed, and one of its transmitters seems to have stopped working.
READ NEXT First moon-walk suit deteriorating

There was no answer to a command sent to activate Philae’s ROMAP instrument to determine the comet’s plasma environment and magnetic field. Communications between Philae and its orbiter are tricky because dust thrown off by the comet as it approaches the Sun make it hard for the orbiter to stay close to the comet. Scientists have commanded Philae to use just one transmitter, and have started moving the orbiter to a safer distance from the comet.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2015 09:50 pm
Wakey wakey! Eggs and bakey!
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2015 10:25 pm
@FBM,
I dont think that they have gotten usable data in a very long time. And they will not now, it is too late.

This mission failed because the probe was sent with the wrong fuel.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 12:57 pm
Philae had a bumpy landing on the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet last November, but that didn't stop it from relaying some important data back to Earth. Papers published in the journal Science reveal how scientists, using the data collected by Philae's onboard instruments, have been able to identify the internal structure of the comet, its daily fluctuations in temperature and organic compounds that could help support life.

The MUPUS sensors which hammered into Abydos -- the name given to Philae's final resting place -- has revealed that the lander is sitting on a thin layer of dust less than 3cm thick and a compacted mixture of ice and dust below. The CONSERT radar, meanwhile -- which fired radio waves through the nucleus to Rosetta -- has given a detailed picture of the dust and ice located in the comet's center. Using MUPUS' thermal sensor, scientists have also discovered that the temperature on the comet shifts between -292 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 Celsius) and -229 degrees Fahrenheit (-145 Celsius) during the day.

These findings alone would be cause for celebration, but they're only the tip of what's been published in Science. Using Philae's ROLIS and CIVA camera systems, researchers have been taking a closer look at the surface of the comet. Before touching down at Agilkia -- the name given to the spacecraft's first and brief landing point -- ROLIS observed a vastly uneven surface comprised of meter-long boulders and dusty regolith measuring up to 2 meters deep. One of the largest shards is five meters high and has a tail of debris on one side, revealing how parts of the comet move while it's hurtling through space.



A photo shot by CIVA of the Abydos landing site. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Philae was also able to collect gas and dust samples that kicked up during and after its double-bounce landing. The data collected by several onboard instruments have revealed 16 organic compounds -- four of which have never been detected on a comet before. The gases that entered the top-mounted tubes included components of coma gases and carbon-bearing organic compounds such as formaldehyde. These can contribute to the creation of amino acids, nucleobases and sugars, including ribose -- which can be found in DNA molecules. It's early days, but these findings do provide some clues as to how comets and the early Solar System could have transported crucial building blocks for life. Even if the Philae lander never wakes up again, scientists can probably call that a job well done.

[Lead Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab]

SOURCE: European Space Agency, Science

http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/31/philae-comet-discoveries/?ncid=rss_truncated
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 02:31 pm
@edgarblythe,
Thank God these idiots included 60 hours of battery power so that the effort was not a total loss.....
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 05:35 pm
@edgarblythe,
Outstanding news. Glad to hear it.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 01:13 pm
Rosetta captures images of jet-blasting comet

http://www.esa.int/var/esa/storage/images/esa_multimedia/images/2015/08/boulder_flying_by_comet/15556249-1-eng-GB/Boulder_flying_by_comet_node_full_image_2.gif
Pictures taken a few hours before the comet’s close encounter with the sun recorded one powerful outburst that flung a visible, bright, stream of dust and vapour several kilometres into space.


http://www.esa.int/var/esa/storage/images/esa_multimedia/images/2015/08/approaching_perihelion_animation/15556093-1-eng-GB/Approaching_perihelion_Animation_node_full_image_2.gif
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 01:29 pm
Thanks. I saw that but was having computer problems, so couldn't put it here at the time.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 03:13 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
One year ago, Andrea Accomazzo and his team made space history. He tells DW why the Rosetta spacecraft, in spite of being in the wrong location when it dropped Philae, was a spectacular achievement.

'This spacecraft is a rock!' - Rosetta's rendezvous with Comet 67P
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2015 01:07 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
ESA's Rosetta space probe will end its life by crash landing on Comet 67P
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 02:18 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Rosetta discovers key life-building amino acid on comet
Quote:
The researchers behind the Rosetta space probe has said they have found some of the essential building blocks of life. The discovery could be a game-changer in the debate over how living organisms developed on Earth.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 02:59 pm
The building blocks of life. They must show up on every planet and depend on the luck of the draw if conditions arise to make evolution start.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 29 Sep, 2016 07:06 am
Quote:
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission is about to come to a dramatic end. It has spent years successfully gathering data on 67P, a comet 317 million miles away from Earth that scientists hope may contain clues on the creation of the universe. This week it will be set on a collision course with the comet to end the mission

Rosetta space mission: a European success story – video explainer
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2016 05:49 am
@Walter Hinteler,
"Over and out"

http://i66.tinypic.com/35lcac5.jpg
 

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